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Sunday, February 05, 2023

Kerala Naadan Mathanga Curry (coconut squash curry) and Grilled Sichuan Chicken

 I know that one is supposed to use uncooked cubed squash for this recipe, but my hands were aching and I had a lot of baked squash on hand.  Having baked squash on hand made it much faster to prepare and develop flavours.


Kerala Naadan Mathanga Curry


1 butternut squash, or other squash, peeled and cubed.  I used Blue Hubbard Squash.

3 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 dried mild red chilies

10 curry leaves

2-4 shallots, or 1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 chili powder (Mirchi, cayenne, or milder, not American chili powder, that also has cumin)

1 - 2 cups water

Salt, to tastes

For the Coconut paste:

1 cup shredded UNSWEETENED coconut

2 green chilies

1 cup water

  • In a blender, make a paste of the coconut, green chilies, and water.  Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the mustard seeds.  When they begin to pop everywhere, add the chilies and curry leaves.  Add the shallots or onion, and fry for 6-7 minutes, until softened.
  • Add the turmeric and chili powder.  Then the squash.  Fry and coat the squash for a couple of minutes.  Add water and salt.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Longer if using uncooked squash.
  • Add the coconut paste and continue cooking, stirring through. 
  • Enjoy, over rice.


 Grilled Sichuan Chicken

6 Chicken Thighs, skinned

1 tsp Sichuan Chili paste

2 tbs Hoisin

2 tbs Char Sui BBQ paste

drizzles Chinese cooking wine, Sesame oil, soy sauce

Sichuan spice blend of:  1/2 tsp each of white pepper, ground star anise, ground cloves, ground coriander, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground Sichuan peppers

Blend marinade and combine with chicken thighs.  Let marinade for a few hours.

 Heat oven to 350ºF. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Place chicken on the baking sheet, with all of the marinade.  Sprinkle optional roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and/or chopped green onions.  Roast for about an hour, until the chicken is fall off of the bone tender.











Thursday, October 13, 2022


Ikra is a Russian relish/condiment/side dish.  Ikra means caviar, so the vegetables, usually referring to eggplant or zucchini, are diced small, to be reminiscent of fish roe.  I grew up with it, traditionally with Russian Mennonite foods, especially Fleischpersky.



2 large red onions, finely chopped 

4-6 cups finely chopped eggplant 

2-3 cups shredded carrots 

2 cups shredded parsley roots 

2-4 cups chopped peppers (I used a mix of sweet and medium hot)

4 cups tomato purée, or 1-2 bottles passata, or 4-6 cups chopped tomatoes 

Salt and pepper, to taste(I used about 2 tbs black pepper, and just less than that of salt)

Scant cup sugar (balances the acids, for canning)

1-4 tbs olive oil (or your preferences)

In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, start cooking all ingredients, except for the tomatoes and sugar, on medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the eggplant is soft, add the remaining ingredients and cook, slowly, until it starts to reduce. Add a little bit of water, if needed. 

Can, in sterilized jars, for 15 minutes. 


Monday, September 05, 2022

Albondigas - Spanish Meatballs

 Albondigas are my favourite meatball with sauce.  Served as a tapas, as a main course, snacks, etc.  They are easy to prepare and delicious.

For The Meatballs

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 c fresh white bread, torn into small pieces (I have used other kinds of bread)
¼ c beef stock 
1kg ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp grated Manchego cheese, or Pecorino
1 Tbsp parsley
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

For The Sauce

1 tsp olive oil (if needed)
1 onion, minced
2 c crushed tomatoes
½ c red wine (pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, or merlot)
¼ c beef stock (we prefer low sodium)
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp salt


For The Meatballs

In a small sauté pan, heat ½ Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the torn bread in a small bowl and pour the stock over it. Let the bread soak up the stock for 2-3 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the  ground beef, egg, grated cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the cooled onion mixture and soaked bread. Using a large fork or your hands, mix the ingredients until evenly combined.
Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch balls and add them to the baking sheet.  Bake at 350ºF for 10+ minutes.  


For The Sauce

Once all your meatballs have been browned, add a little oil to the sauté pan, if needed. Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the minced onion for the sauce. Sauté the onion until softened, 3-5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, beef stock, wine, paprika, and salt. Mix well and bring the sauce to a simmer. 

Add the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the meatballs and sauce for 20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is thick.
Serve the meatballs with crusty bread and a glass of red wine. 



Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Beer and White Cheddar Mussels

 Mussels, from PEI, are wonderful, versatile, crazy easy to prepare, super healthy, and sustainable.  They are also regularly available at Gimli Fish.

I've prepared these mussels with beer and white cheddar.  

First, clean the mussels.  also easy.  Clean off any beards and throw away and broken mussels or ones that don't close, even when tapping them.  Place cleaned mussels in some salt water to remove any more grit.  Set aside in the fridge after draining and rinsing the mussels.

Prepare the sauce in a large enough pot with a lid.


Beer and White Cheddar Mussels

1 lb fresh mussels, cleaned

1 finely diced shallot

2 tbs butter

1 beer

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded white cheddar

1 tbs corn starch

1 tbs Dijon mustard

white pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

salt, to taste

Options:  chopped peppers, sautéed mushrooms, microgreens, etc.

For the sauce;

Sauté the shallot in butter until translucent.  Add the minced garlic.  Toss the corn starch with the white cheddar.  The starch allows you to prepare the sauce without lumps.  Add the beer and when simmering, add the white cheddar slowly.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a good simmer and add the mussels.  Stir and cover with the lid.  Cook for 5+ minutes, or until the mussels open.  Stir and serve in a large serving bowl.

Enjoy with toasts or crisp fries.

Monday, June 06, 2022

Thai Coconut Curry Squash

This dish is so easy to prepare, once you have broken down the squash.  It is also quite versatile.  



1 tablespoons coconut oil (or any oil really) 

1 large shallots, chopped (or 2 small)

6-10 lime leaves

2-2 ½ cups diced squash. I used Boston Marrow, but you can use butternut, Hubbard, or your favourite variety 

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2-3 tablespoons yellow curry paste 

1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk or make coconut cream and milk about 2 cups

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

2 teaspoons fish sauce (try black vinegar for vegans/vegetarians)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3-4 cups fresh baby spinach


Heat cooking pot to medium high heat.  Add coconut oil and chopped shallots with the lime leaves and cook until the shallots are softened.  Add the ginger and yellow curry paste and cook for a minute before adding the coconut milk, squash, broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar.  Cook until the squash is soft, simmering on medium low, stirring.  Add spinach and continue cooking.  Serve with rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 21, 2022

French Onion Soup - Comfort in the Cold

 In the midst of another blizzard and cold snap, French Onion Soup to the rescue!  First, the stock:


Beef Stock

2 (ish) kg beef bones for stock
4 carrots, peeled and large diced
3 celery, large diced
2 Spanish onions, large diced
4 tablespoons tomato paste (a Turkish or Italian variety is richest)
1 leek
1 bunch parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
8 peppercorns
1 cup red wine

1. Place beef bones in a large roasting pan and roast in a 375ºF oven for 45 minutes, or until the bones begin to become golden brown.
2. Place the onions, celery and carrots on top of bones and place back in oven and roast another 30 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown.
3. Coat bones with tomato paste and place back in the oven again and roast until tomato paste until it starts to brown but do not let it burn, approximately 15 minutes.
4. Place bones and vegetables into a large stock pot along with remaining ingredients. Cover the bones with cold water and bring pot to a simmer.
5. While bringing the pot to simmer, place the roasting pan over a burner and add the red wine. Scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan using the wine to deglaze the pan, add wine and bits to the stock pot.
6. Once water comes to a boil, set to a low simmer, and skim the stock of scum and fat for the first two hours.
7. Leave stock pot on a low simmer for about 4 hours. Periodically skim excess fat from the top of the pot and add water if necessary.
8. Remove pot from heat and strain stock through a fine sieve. Place into individual containers and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for up to a month. 

Next, the soup

French Onion Soup

3-8 red onions, depending on size and personal tastes, shredded 

drizzle olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

sprig of thyme

a few litres beef stock

red wine, or cognac

toasts and cheese (Emmenthal, Oka, or other sharp white cheese)

Sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent and soft.  Season with salt and pepperAdd beef stock and simmer.  Add wine or cognac.  Simmer for about an hour.

Prepare toasts with cheese.  Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls.  Place cheese toasts on top.  Broil until browned.  Serve and enjoy!



Sunday, November 28, 2021

Squash Pancakes, a Korean snack in time for Hanukkah

 Happy Hanukkah!  A miraculous time of frying in oil!  

These light, vegan and gluten-free (if desired) squash pancakes are a Korean snack that work nicely as fried Hanukkah treat.


Korean Squash Pancakes


1 small squash, peeled, seeded and grated (not spaghetti squash, but most other kinds, including pumpkin.  Small, as in Acorn Squash, or enough to make 4-6 cups grated)

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs salt

Tamarack Farms Yellow Pea flour, to create batter texture. (May use AP flour, wild rice flour, rice flour, etc.  Use what you would for gluten-free cooking, or without regular flour. ) Quantity of flour depends on the amount of liquid in the squash.


I tested a few methods.  One recipe suggested not to grate the squash or put it through a food processor grater, as she didn't wish to clean it up, and recommended fine match-stick cutting of the squash.  I found that I had the best results with grating it.  

Grate the squash and mix with the salt and sugar.  Let sit for 10 - 30 minutes.  You will see liquid in the bowl.  You need the liquid.  

Mix in enough yellow pea flour or desired flour to make a batter.  Let the batter rest.

Fry pancakes in oil, until crisp on each side, about 6-8 minutes.  Enjoy immediately, with some soy sauce or hot sauce, or save for later service.